Blaise Tapp writes: Everything is going up in cost at a rate that we haven’t seen for a generation; right now we’re all receiving an eye-watering estimate for what our gas and electric bills will look like over the next 12 months - ours is predicted to rise by at least 60 per cent, the weekly shop is becoming increasingly dearer and it’s never been more expensive to fill up the motor.
So, it was almost inevitable that Royal Mail should get in on the act last week and announce that the cost of a first class stamp is going up by 10p to 95p.
Cue outrage from most quarters, including those who pointed to Royal Mail’s profits last year quadrupling compared to 12 months before.
But the fact is the letters side of the business isn’t what it was - in 2005 posties were sticking 20 billion letters through doors every year while these days it is nearer seven billion.
Postal bigwigs are blaming the pandemic of course and say that we are visiting the postbox a lot less than we used to two years ago but the problems obviously run a lot deeper than that.
The continued digitisation of society has a big role to play but surely businesses and individuals aren’t relying on email and other forms of 21st century messaging?
I’m not sure about you, but my inbox is the virtual equivalent of a teenager’s bedroom but rather than pungent socks and half eaten Pot Noodles the clutter consists of invitations to spa hotels and offers for bargain weekend breaks to somewhere warm. Chance would be a fine thing.
Although sending a message digitally is significantly cheaper for businesses, there is no guarantee that the recipient will take much notice of it, unless you include the words free and money in the subject field.
I definitely receive a lot less post than I did when I had hair and high streets consisted of more than just coffee houses and vape shops.
Maybe the rose tinted specs wearers are right and this is a generational thing - that younger folk either don’t want to or can’t sit down or type or write a note.
I used to regularly receive letters from since departed relatives and they genuinely made my week sometimes.
I kept hold of six-page novellas from my old grandad, formally thanking me for Sunday roast or a trip down the local for two pints of mild and a chinwag.
It didn’t matter that I had spoken to him on the phone twice - after 6pm of course - in the intervening days, the fact that he had committed pen to paper meant so much.
That generation - the greatest of them all - knew what it meant to properly correspond and how much more powerful it was to receive a letter than get a quick phone call.
His messages always made reference to the weather and who he had bumped into in the chemist’s and were always signed yours sincerely - no chance of him shortening it to Best or, even worse, BR, like lazy emailers do these days.
I’m sure that historians of the future will trawl through Twitter feeds and emails in order to paint a picture of their chosen subject but I’m almost certain that they won’t get anywhere near as much insight about an individual as they would through a handwritten letter.
Thankfully, birthday cards have yet to go out of fashion - if anything I make more of an effort with these than I did in my twenties and thirties, because sending a flimsy piece of card, bearing a questionable joke shows that you care.
An extra 10p for a stamp? It won’t put me off and it’ll still be cheaper than driving it there myself.
Read more: https://www.wakefieldexpress.co.uk/must-read/blaise-tapp-inevitable-questions-from-our-children-about-the-war-in-ukraine-3591060